in april 2010, i learned from CBC radio that Nova Scotia is to house Canada’s immigration museum at Pier 21. apparently, the decision was made a couple months prior.

i moved away from there around the same time… with a very dirty taste in my mouth. as a visible minority and racialized, child of two immigrant parents, born, raised, and participant in its institutions, i am less than amused about the potential for the museum to promote the image of Nova Scotia as an accepting place to land.

sure, my parents lived the “american dream”. but they suffered horribly due to barriers that were explicit forms of racial discrimination. many social science undergraduate students in Canada will know of the injustices to black high school students in Cole Harbour, that, until recently,were purported by officials as merely teen antics.

in my own experience, i saw “white vs black” battles split student bodies, my multi-cultural group of friends separate into social cliques and physical ghettos, was called every slur-name in the book as a kid, and cat-called every exotic-name as a teen. as an adult, i witness others go through the same experiences as my parents, and as i have and did while living there most recently.

in my wildest dreams, the museum will ratify the injustices that occurred, and continue to occur to immigrants establishing themselves in NS. realistically, i know this highly unlikely. i’m sorry.

excuse me as i raise a weary eyebrow to the state’s “sorry” state. even for Nova Scotia’s most recent apology and pardon for the racist jailing of viola desmond for sitting in the whites’ section of a theatre over 60 years ago. i can’t help but think it’s all part of a multicultural public relations campaign to attract international students, new immigrants, and tourists from the rest of Canada, who may be inclined to go… say, anywhere else instead.

surely i understand the desire to attract “foreign investment” to this province, but i could not comfortably recommend NS as a good place for any visible minority that is new to Canada. Immigrant integration services are sparse and tools to succeed as an international student suck compared to many cities in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. of course, maybe that’s the point? the province one “lands” in gets a huge lump sum, whether or not one stays. international students pay tuition fees that are nearly three times more than the price for domestic students. whereas both student groups have similar attrition rates, the internationals have often been fiercely hunted to bolster the domestics. one failed international student + one failed domestic student = tuition for one 4-year domestic undergraduate. better yet, if the international student makes it to year 2 on his/her own volition, marks for the student body go up and the university now gets the equivalent of 5-6 years of tuition.

at best, i perceive government messaging to “incorporate” immigrants as well-meaning but offensive; and partly to blame for reifying model minority stereotypes. this leaves individuals stuck on un-learning the spectrum of stereotypes from the media around them, (potentially, hopefully?, with the help of this “immigration museum”), rather than in a face-to-face dialogue.


One of two ways potential students from China are recruited includes “…shapely models in tiny silver dresses who paraded back and forth along a lit catwalk, waving scarves covered in red maple leaves and the word “Canada””, as reported by Mark MacKinnon in his article in yesterday’s Globe and Mail article. While Recruiting Chinese Students: A Work In Progress, and readers’ comments take voice many concerns, there are two that have received little or no attention: a) globalization of ideas (e.g. race, citizenship, modernity, etc.) according to neoliberal market schemes for education, and b) accountability of actors like Jin Jielie Group, that is “specializes in matching Chinese students with foreign schools”. The former is far too lengthy and complicated for me to think through and present here. The latter does not preclude responsibility of schools, governments, communities that support services of recruiters, and do not follow-through with products that can be likened to those flashed to would-be buyers, by Jin Jielie Group.

Someone must be paying Jin Jielie Group. Someone is not paying or saving from the incredible international tuition fees that Chinese and other foreign students must pay to attend school in Canada.

And while we’re at it… How about the “multicultural” ads for universities that are just not much (of anything) more than a bunch of local residents’ “next step” after high school. If universities are in the game of business (and they are), where and with whom can customers (misled as they [likely] may be) able to seek counsel? Who is accountable?!

Generally speaking, private high schools and larger universities provide excellent “customer service”. Positive student/parent experiences provide long-term outcomes and branding… here and abroad. It is the quick and dirty practices of smaller, financially insecure, reputably weaker institutions that are disconcerting. They grant admission to just about any foreign student (e.g. required LSAT score is very low, encourage non-degree status with empty promises, discriminate against them for on-campus job opportunities). These smaller schools push the photo of token multiculturalism, but after first installments of international student tuition is banked, students are left to fail and go home in shame.

In consideration of school reputations worldwide, small & weak Canadian schools have sought low levels to compete. It’s a sexy sham.

My advice: small or large university, stick to those with better research reputations. They are less likely to cheaply sell themselves (unfortunately, it’s because they need good students in their puppy-mills to support research outputs, but hey! at least there’s something in it for students too).

big bad chinese mama website

September 11, 2008

i will write about this soon, but for now… please check’er out. i nearly snorted tea out of my nose.

pennies as priority politics?

September 3, 2008

is NDP MP Pat Martin seriously promoting the topic of pennies as possibly a priority election issue? i mean, with millions of more important things like… oh, like, banning the public display of treasure trails, and well… that’s about it eh? 

indeed he is, according to this article by Lyndsie Bourgon of The Canadian Press. She wrote:

“Amid threats of a fall election, Martin said going to the polls would mean starting over for his penny campaign.

“All the progress we’ve made other than public opinion would be lost if an election takes place,” Martin said.

“But, it gives us an opportunity to make it an election issue.””

sure, i have been away from Canada for a bit, but i hesitate to think the ndp party has gone to the birds. call it wishful thinking, but i hope this is poor framing on the part of Bourgon. yet, she did also quote Martin saying:

“Making cents just doesn’t make sense anymore.”

har har.

what’s going on? are we competing with americans politicians for stage presence, just a little maybe? 

i can’t say i’m surprised that as canadians we are seeking second-hand spotlight attention for politics at home. it’s as though the american electoral system, media, and advertisers have a deal going on around the theme of celebrity vanity. and it is working*. however, i am disappointed in martin’s less-than-stellar performance as a representative of the NDP.

and that’s my two cents, that wouldn’t be worth jack at this East Coast cafe which recently declared itself a “Penny Free Zone” in keeping with the paltry patience for pennies. riiiiiight. it’s merely a marketing ploy in my opinion (i.e. naming nothing new)

but really now, really!?! pennies?

*when asked, if there was an election in the next couple of months, who would she vote for… someone i knew said, “i dunno, Obama!?”

my 1st blog bash/bully

February 11, 2008

everyone is entitled their own opinion. i almost always feel that if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all (re: bambi or was it thumper?). however, a couple of days ago i happened upon a blog that completely outraged me. i will not be tracking or pinging (or whatever it is) back to it b/c i just don’t think the blogger even deserves it.

basically, an excerpt appeared in my tag surfer along the line that led to a raised eyebrow. something along the lines of:

“chinese girls are so great and all i have to do is sit here at starbucks and they come back to the hotel with me.” 

i was hooked. i clicked. i thought, ‘please tell me this is a freakin joke or there’s some substantive twist’.

on the blog, i finished reading the post that ended with the blogger noting that:

“i can get hot chicks here when nobody at home looks my way”

ok. poorly written. i tried to give this blogger the benefit of the doubt. perhaps, perhaps, he’s pulling some kind of satirical gag. or maybe, maybe he just doesn’t know any better – duh, you’re white, people are going to look when you are in asia. or maybe he’s…

i just wanted to believe that someone so scuzzy wouldn’t be blogging about it.

i then click on his ‘about’ page.

*bleepin* loser is a 60 yr old white male who acknowledges he can’t get any play at home and so is banging and blogging his way through asia.

i can’t even express how frustrated his blog made me. even after trying to forget about it, i was still boiling.

so i graced his blog with another hit and left a harsh comment.  i wrote about his whiteness sticking out and that he should not feel so special. i commented that those women he was taking to the hotel to bang were likely looking for more (e.g. a ticket out, a relationship) and that he was being exploitive. i asked him to consider why if no one at “home” would look at him, why WHY why did he think women in asia would?

surprise surprise, my comment was never cleared.

i know it takes 2 to tango, and those “asian beauties” have a role to play in his asian adventure. i’m frustrated with a lot of things. but i see their situation to be a lot more influenced by structural constraints. let’s not even begin with colonialism and…

call me bias, a bully, a bash, but i’m still bothered by this.

what ever happened to the times when you meet someone and write their phone number somewhere on your person? through the day the ink gets smudgy, but sure enough – you’ve got digits. presumably, you call and talk to that person, get to know them better… blah blah blah.

surely i am no stranger to technology, though not a wiz by any means. nor am i old enough to say, “back in the day…”. but in the last few weeks, rather than a traditional exchange of business cards, phone numbers, or even email addresses, i’ve been given websites addresses. *oh, how personal* granted, these sites are also used for business purposes. but what am i supposed to do with a dude’s biography that’s been purposefully composed to promote, say their boxing showmanship, next rapping event, recent marketing project, or even catering menu specialities?!

sure, it’s probably a little like online dating profiles in regards to selling yourself to a prospect… but one would think those profiles are a little more personal and directed? what’s next, and online calendar and application to schedule a date?

though i hope this isn’t a growing trend, it would be nice if website pick-ups included their annual reports online!

abc’s of attraction

January 30, 2008

for those interested in my last post about interracial approaches to dating, as it turns out i was trying to reinvent the wheel. hrmm… not really, but boys/men who are interested in exploring their options and improving their skills should check out “the ABC’s of attraction“.


check your calendars, because the author of the ABC’s is coming to an area near YOU! yes, YOU too can learn how to mack interracially!

while his video clip (above) is comical and questionable, his ABC’s are at least worth a gander in their abstract form on the website (especially for those of you who don’t realize when and why we keep putting you in the ‘safe’ category).

sound flaky? perhaps. see for yourself and leave me a comment!